Picking Winners at Belmont Stakes

Rich Strike, the 80-1 pitcher ridden by Sonny Leon and coached by Eric Reed, mounted a furious and unlikely rally to capture the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 7. running.

But after skipping the Preakness Stakes on May 21, forgoing a shot at the Triple Crown, Rich Strike will look to prove at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday that his Derby win was no fluke.

Belmont horses are listed in order of posting position, with comments from Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning row odds were set by David Aragona of the New York Racing Association.

handbag: $1.5 million guaranteed Distance: 1½ miles

Historic: For a mile and a half, 2:24 (Secretariat, 1973); for a mile and an octave, 1:45.40 (Secretariat, 1973)

Weight: 126 pounds

post time: Saturday at 6:44 pm Eastern

How to watch: Saturday coverage begins on CNBC at 3 pm Eastern Time and switches to NBC at 5 pm. Coverage will also be streamed on NBCSports.com.

Joe Drape’s Win-Seat-Show Picks: Rich Strike, Mo Donegal, We the People

Melissa Hoppert’s Picks: Mo Donegal, Creative Minister, We the People

Here’s how we see the field:

Coach: Rodolphe Brisset Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 2-1

Field: This foal possesses the high cruising speed that usually wins this race.

Hoppert: His play from gate to wire on an off-track at Peter Pan in Belmont was his fourth win in three matches. With rain in the forecast, will anyone be able to catch it?

Coach: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Manny Franco Odds: 20-1

Field: Of the late runners in this field, he is the slowest. Looking elsewhere.

Hoppert: The fifth-place finisher in Preakness has at least one thing going for him: the best name on the field after his four dark-colored legs, or socks.

Coach: Todd Pletcher Jockey: José Ortiz Odds: 8-1

Field: This is one hardworking filly who won’t let We the People get too far away from her.

Hoppert: The Kentucky Oaks runner-up won four of the six races and is bred for this marathon. Pletcher won before with a filly, in 2007 with Rags to Riches. Leave her out of your exotics at your own risk.

Coach: Eric Reed Jockey: Sonny Leon Odds: 7-2

Field: Derby surprise winner is training like a monster after skipping Preakness. He should run fine.

Hoppert: He wants to prove himself here, and while distance isn’t an issue, he needs another perfect trip.

Coach: Kenny McPeek Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Odds: 6-1

Field: This foal has tactical speed and can push We the People early.

Hoppert: The third-place finisher in Preakness has scored in all four races, starting with their debut in March. There is certainly still a lot of potential.

Coach: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 5-2

Field: Like Rich Strike, this foal needs to stay close to the rhythm for his final kick to have a chance.

Hoppert: He ran into some traffic and finished fifth in the Derby, his first time missing the board in six races. Pletcher knows what it takes to beat Belmont, having won three, and the best jockey in New York will have him within striking range.

Coach: Mark Casse Jockey: Dylan Davis Odds: 20-1

Field: So far, he hasn’t been good enough to beat his high-profile peers.

Hoppert: The Peter Pan runner-up finished 10¼ behind We the People. Pass.

Coach: John Ortiz Jockey: Joel Rosario Odds: 10-1

Field: This foal is a consistent cashier and will be collecting in the end.

Hoppert: He had a bumpy ride in the Derby but still managed to finish in sixth place. He picks up Rosario, who will make sure he stays in the mix.

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